Immigrant Rights

The Right Wing's Inflammatory Reaction to the Border Crisis

As we’re dealing with the refugee crisis on the southern border, right-wing elected officials have amped up their inappropriate, inflammatory rhetoric to dehumanize immigrants and attack immigration reform:

  • Sen. Ted Cruz announced last week that his new “top priority”  in Washington is to end President Obama’s deferred action program for DREAMers and deport undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. While trying to soften his appearance by bringing teddy bears and soccer balls to children at the southern border, he proclaimed that “as long as that promise of amnesty is there, more and more children will come... We need to eliminate the promise of amnesty.”
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert claims children being held are a problem because “we don’t even know what all diseases they have” and added that our healthcare system “can’t withstand the influx,” which, he believes was orchestrated by President Obama to recruit millions of people to cast fraudulent ballots for Democrats.
  • Sen. David Vitter has “had it with undocumented immigrants,” and tweeted on Friday that “enough is enough.” To deal with the crisis, he introduced a bill that would “require mandatory detention for anyone” that is in the U.S. illegally, in order to get “illegal aliens on the next plane home.” (Mother Jones calculated that this effort would require more than 64,000 planes to actually work.)
  • Rep. Tom Tancredo shared a similar plan when he said that President Obama should “sign an executive order saying all these people ought to be returned. Put them on buses or planes, send them back to the countries from which they came and have the governments there take care of it.”
  • Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, claimed that these unaccompanied minors from Central America are probably “gangbangers” and questioned why they are being sent to this county in the first place.

Of course, elected extremists aren’t the only ones making outrageous statements:

  • The Minuteman Project’s Jim Gilchrist said this crisis is “part of a concerted effort to transfer populations of Central America and Mexico into the United States using minor children, illegal immigrants under the age of 18, as human shields… to detour our ability to enforce our immigration laws.”
  • The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios suggested the child refugees should be quarantined like lepers used to be, harking back to “biblical times” when the “lepers were separated” because it was “understood that leprosy was so contagious.” Rios' fretted that these children are transported in the “same planes that you and I fly in… How do we know about lice and disease before they get on public transportation?”
  • Jody Hice, running to replace Georgia Rep. Paul Broun in the U.S. House, suggested that people take up arms in response to “a government that refuses to secure our borders” because “that is the reason we have a Second Amendment.”

The Right Wing's inflammatory rhetoric distorts the reality of the crisis, causing more conflict and damage.

PFAW

PFAW Files Amicus Brief Supporting Fair Trials for Undocumented Immigrants

Last Thursday, People For the American Way, joined by the UC Hastings Appellate Project (HAP) and the ACLU of Southern California, submitted an amicus brief to the California Court of Appeal in Velasquez v. Centrome, Inc. dba Advanced Biotech, a toxic tort case brought by an undocumented immigrant that resulted in a gross denial of justice.

Wilfredo Velasquez filed a lawsuit against a chemical manufacturer seeking damages for medical expenses after contracting a devastating lung disease due to exposure to one of the company’s toxic chemicals while on the job. During the jury selection process, where prospective jurors are questioned to discover potential biases, the trial judge wrongly disclosed Mr. Velasquez’s immigration status to the entire jury pool, despite the fact that it was not relevant to any issues in the case. The disclosure appears to have harmed Mr. Velasquez’s pursuit of justice: Even though the jury ultimately found the chemical manufacturer negligent, it awarded no damages to Mr. Velasquez. He effectively lost his case. The court refused to grant a mistrial for its error in possibly tainting the jury, and Mr. Velasquez appealed the verdict. 

PFAW submitted its amicus brief in support of a new trial for Mr. Velasquez because of the highly prejudicial nature of the court’s wrongful disclosure of his citizenship status, explaining, “Rather than protect against prejudice, the judge’s statement unnecessarily injected prejudice into the [jury] selection process, making it impossible to know whether Mr. Velasquez received his constitutionally guaranteed fair trial by impartial jurors.” Given the ongoing hostility towards undocumented immigrants, as chronicled by PFAW’s Right Wing Watch blog, PFAW’s brief urges the appellate court to find that when a trial court erroneously discloses a litigant’s citizenship status to the jury during voir dire a new trial must be awarded.

Read the full text of the amicus brief for more information
 

PFAW

How Not to Lobby Legislators on Immigration

Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) is urging activists to contact members of the Illinois State Senate to oppose legislation that will allow undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses. But ALIPAC’s strategy may not be the best, as it is telling members to “yell” at Illinois officials and begin “asking them if they have lost their minds.” “Be careful with your wording and be prepared for a liberal illegal alien supporter to claim you were too threatening,” the group noted. Maybe this isn’t so much a surprise from a group whose head floated the possibility of armed revolution and an anti-Obama coup.

You need to yell at these politicians today before they do something stupid The Illinois State Senate is poised to pass a bill granting a new form of drivers' licenses to approximately 250,000 illegal aliens!

77% of American adults are opposed to making drivers' licenses available to people who are in the country illegally, according to Rasmussen polls conducted in November of 2007. A local group called Safer Families Coalition is protesting at the Illinois legislature today against this bill and they need our support.

Regular calls are not enough. We need you to make emphatic calls, raise your voice a little, don't go over the top, but start calling as many of these numbers and asking them if they have lost their minds. Call as many as you can to make a big impact today!

Sample messages

"Have Illinois state lawmakers lost their minds? Why in the world would you even be considering a bill that does something 77% of Americans oppose like giving aid and licenses to illegal aliens? Why are you focused on helping illegal aliens instead of helping the Americans you are supposed to serve?"

"I just read that you are considering a bill to give licenses to illegal aliens, is that true? I want to know if Senator _________ supports giving licenses to illegal aliens to help them work jobs it is illegal for them to steal from Americans? What other taxpayer benefits for illegal aliens does Senator _____ support? Is Senator _____ aware that three out of four of his/her constituents oppose licenses for illegal aliens?"

We need to really let them have it today. By this afternoon, we need the Illinois Senate offices grumbling and complaining about the large volume of angry calls they received opposing licenses for illegal aliens.

Be careful with your wording and be prepared for a liberal illegal alien supporter to claim you were too threatening.

UPDATE: Apparently all that yelling did not work, as the State Senate approved the measure by a 41-14 vote, making ALIPAC even angrier:

GOP lawmakers in Illinois caved. The biased media and Associated Press are using two major lies to advance the invasion. They are making the false claim that most Americans support a path to citizenship for illegals to justify giving illegals licenses. We know from accurate polling data that at least 66% of Americans wisely oppose a path to citizenship for illegals and more than 77% oppose licenses for illegal aliens.

The other thing that is allowing the invasion to succeed is American apathy and those who failed to take just a few minutes to call the Illinois Senate yesterday despite the best efforts of those of us who were fighting contributed to the loss.

We need all of you to pick up the nearest phone RIGHT NOW and click on this link to pull up the contact numbers for the IL State House...

Make a commitment to call a minimum of 5 numbers at random. Call more if you can spare the time.

Call and tell staff or leave voice messages modeled after our sample message....

"I just heard the ridiculous news that the IL Senate is trying to give licenses to illegal aliens even though 77% of your constituents oppose such a measure. Please argue against and defeat this bill to give licenses to illegal aliens. Giving licenses to illegal aliens will help them to break other laws, take American jobs, take taxpayer resources all to remain in the US unlawfully. Don't let Illinois become the first state in America to grant licenses to illegal aliens when 46 other states have all acted to STOP illegals from getting licenses!"

Steve King: Democrats will Never Lose the Hispanic Vote because they Promise Immigrants a 'Great Big Check'

Steve King stopped by The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday where he dismissed claims that a major reason Mitt Romney lost is due to his lopsided defeat among Latinos. According to King, it wasn’t that Romney did a poor job in winning over Latino voters; it’s that he wasn’t able to turn out enough conservatives to the polls.

King: John McCain got 31 percent of the Hispanic vote and Mitt Romney got 27 percent, so it dropped off four points between McCain and Romney. Romney didn’t reach the low water point; the low water point was 1996 with Bob Dole who got only 21 percent of the Hispanic vote. So when you look at the balance of this and you think, why didn’t Mitt Romney win the election? There are a whole number of other things. A lot of Republicans and conservatives didn’t turn out. Just plain constitutional conservative were not motivated in numbers as one would’ve expected, even compared to the McCain race.

So King thinks that Romney lost because dedicated conservatives didn’t bother to show up in a presidential election in which right-wing leaders put anti-Obama hysteria into overdrive and warned that Obama’s re-election will literally destroy America?

Let’s see.

According to exit polls from this election, 35 percent of voters identified themselves as conservatives. That number was 34 percent in 2008 and in 2004. While the percentage of self-described conservatives who turn out for presidential elections is rather stable, Latinos have steadily increased their share of the electorate as their population continues to grow.

King and Mefferd later agreed that working on immigration reform with Democrats is pointless as it won’t help the GOP win any votes because, in King’s words, “Democrats will find a way to hand deliver citizenship papers along with a great big check.”

Mefferd: How in the world do you out-left the left anyway? If we go to the left on amnesty, do you think the Democrats are going to sit still and just go ‘oh I guess that they’re more caring than we are’? It’s a zero-sum game. I don’t know how in the world the Republicans expect to get votes when the Democrats are already farther along than we are.

King: There’s no possible way. Whatever we might say we are going to do, reduce the enforcement of the rule of law, waive the rule of law, Democrats will find a way to hand deliver citizenship papers along with a great big check from money borrowed from the Chinese.

If King really thinks it is best for the GOP to maintain their hard line stance against immigration, he may want to ask his fellow Republicans in California how that worked out for them.

Waking up from the Nightmare

Although the DREAM Act seemed to remain a dream after being blocked by Senate Republicans in 2010, the Obama administration has recently taken steps to make staying in the United States a reality for thousands of young undocumented immigrants.

Last Friday, President Obama announced a new policy directive to allow undocumented immigrants under the age of 30 to apply for a two-year, renewable work permit if they met an array of criteria, including arriving to the United States before the age of 16, and are in high school, graduated from high school, or were honorably discharged from the armed forces. The plan doesn’t grant amnesty or a road to citizenship; but as the president stated, it is a “temporary solution” and “the right thing to do.”

This decision will positively impact up to 800,000 law-abiding, hard-working Americans who have until now lived in constant fear of deportation. One such DREAMer is 26 year-old Mohammad Abdollahi, who immigrated to this nation at the age of three from Iran. His family’s visa soon expired and was not renewed. Not only has Mohammad had to live the majority of his life in fear of deportation, but the price of being sent back to Iran was incredibly high. Mohammad is openly gay and due to Iran’s policy of capital punishment towards gay individuals, his deportation could be a death sentence.

With his life literally on the line, and running out of options, Mohammad became one of the first students to come out as undocumented in an attempt to pressure congress to pass the DREAM Act in 2010. Although the act didn’t pass, he hasn’t given up the fight. When President Obama made this historic announcement last week, Mohammad was occupying an Obama re-election office in Deerborn, Michigan as a symbolical plea directed towards the president to take action. This change in policy ends this nightmare for Mohammad and so many other DREAMers like him.

In his address in the Rose Garden, President Obama stated, “We are a better nation than one that expels innocent young kids.” Sadly, it seems many Republicans in Congress don’t share this value. After the announcement, Republican House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith of Texas claimed, "President Obama's decision to grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal immigrants is a breach of faith with the American people…It also blatantly ignores the rule of law that is the foundation of our democracy.”

Not only is Rep. Smith just flat wrong to claim that the plan grants “amnesty,” he appears to believe that the foundation of our democracy requires ridding our nation of young, productive and patriotic members of society. Republicans should wake up and embrace this change as an opportunity to finally be a part of a more permanent solution.

PFAW

Maybe She Wishes Romney's Position Wasn't So Clear

The Republican National Committee’s Hispanic Outreach Director Bettina Inclan sparked a mini-firestorm today when she told reporters that she could not comment on Romney’s immigration positions because “he’s still deciding what his position on immigration is.”  She later tried to clean up the mess by tweeting that she was mistaken, and that his position was clear, linking to his website

Unfortunately for Romney and for the RNC’s Hispanic outreach, his position is all too clear: he opposes not only “amnesty” but all “magnets” – such as the DREAM Act or in-state tuition for students whose parents brought them here as children.  Romney has backed legislation, like Arizona’s, that has the goal of making life for undocumented immigrants so miserable that they will choose to “self-deport.”  That’s a bit much even for some right-wing activists, including some of those at the Freedom Federation’s recent Awakening conference in Orlando, Florida, where one speaker called the “self-deportation” approach “cruel” and “unbiblical” and where the Southern Baptists’ Richard Land called the GOP’s positions on immigration policy “dismal” and “indefensible.”

Kamal Saleem Says 'Terrorism Will Be Legal' if Immigration Reform Passes; 'We'll be Wearing Ragheads'

Last week’s Awakening 2012 conference included a panel on Islam featuring Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council and Kamal Saleem, the phony “ex-terrorist” who has been making the rounds on Religious Right events and television programs telling his bogus, discredited backstory.

While some panelists at the Awakening criticized the GOP’s anti-immigrant stance, Saleem maintained that immigration reform is actually a plot to have “all the illegal Muslims will be legalized here” and consequently, “terrorism will be legal.” Saleem accused President Obama of “sending millions to Hamas to import Muslim people” to the U.S. as part of a Muslim Brotherhood plot. Later in the panel, Saleem warned, “This world will become past tense and one day we’ll be wearing ragheads.”

Watch:

The immigration bill is not against the Hispanic, per se, many people think it’s against the Hispanic, no, it’s not, on the contrary, our President is sending millions to Hamas to import Muslim people to United States of America. If that law passed—yes mam, check your media, Google that, he just sent $23 million dollars to Hamas recently to Hamas, just this year, we’re about to bankrupt and he sent the money to Muslims—so what happened is he’s trying to import them to United States of America to throw the power of conservatism and the Church out, you know God’s people, so what happens is they will become the upper hand or the equal hand. Because if you read the Muslim Brotherhood theology and their memorandum that they came to destroy United States of America with, is to populate United States of America with a multitude of millions of Muslims. So what happened is, when they are here, the Sharia law will, what happened when he allowed in the name of the Hispanic people, Mexican people, ‘let’s make them American,’ now all the illegal Muslims will be legalized here and terrorism will be legal in United States of America.



It’s time to make our voices known and time to stand up straight and fight for it because ultimately, the whole word just like my brother Frank [Gaffney] said, this world will become past tense and one day we’ll be wearing ragheads and walking on the street and everybody will say, ‘that used to be a Christian country where Islam conquered.’

American Apartheid? The Republican "Dream" Scheme

After years spent bashing Latinos, polls show the GOP brand suffering among that demographic, so Republicans are now trying to bamboozle Latino voters with a new dream-free version of the DREAM Act.
PFAW
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